Pharmacy and pharmacist organizations remain opposed to increases in TRICARE pharmacy copayments as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) issued a letter pressing Congress on the issue last week.
The House and Senate have passed different versions of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Negotiators are now working to resolve the differences between the two versions. The House bill does not increase TRICARE prescription copays. The Senate version in both the FY2016 and FY2017 NDAA increased copays.
"As the FY2017 NDAA is considered in conference, we urge the conferees to protect TRICARE beneficiary access to prescription medications by adopting the House position which does not include an increase in pharmacy copayments," the letter said. "The proposed increases included in the Senate version would double, and in some cases nearly triple, the amount of money a TRICARE beneficiary would be required to pay out-of-pocket to get their prescriptions filled. TRICARE beneficiaries are concerned about being able to access the services they need."
If TRICARE beneficiaries cannot pay for their prescription copays, they may stop taking their medications. This can result in increased costs for other medical services, such as Medicare. The beneficiaries risk more doctor visits, emergency room services and hospitalization for chronic conditions.
The NACDS and NCPA continue to support access to pharmacy benefits for TRICARE beneficiaries, including the ability to obtain prescriptions at local pharmacies without incurring additional copay costs.